9/26/2012 4:36 PM ET|
Are store loyalty programs worth it?
You may save money by signing up with a favorite retailer. But understand the terms, and don't make extra purchases solely to get rewards.
There is no shortage of retail stores offering customer loyalty programs that claim to save consumers significant amounts of money. Do these programs really live up to their claims? The answer depends on the retailer and the amount of effort the consumer is willing to make to save money on future purchases.
Here is a look at whether customer loyalty programs are really worth your participation and how much money you can expect to save.
How are you rewarded?
Customer loyalty programs reward consumers in different ways, including discounts off future purchases and points systems. These programs are used to increase loyalty to a specific store by encouraging customers to shop there more often.
How often you are rewarded by a customer loyalty program varies, depending on the store's policy and how much you participate in the program. Most loyalty programs provide rewards that are "earned" -- your purchases also rack up points or discounts toward future purchases. If you shop often at the store, you may be able to cash in your rewards fairly quickly. But if you shop at the store only once in a while, it may not be worth signing up for its loyalty program.
Not all customer loyalty programs are created equal
While many retailers and restaurants offer customer loyalty programs, each one is as unique as the store that offers it. Be sure to read the fine print in the loyalty program contract. This document will explain how you are rewarded, how often you can cash in and whether there are any limitations. Before signing up, make sure you know exactly what the program entails.
How much do you really save?
The amount of money you save depends on the store and how frequently you shop there. CVS's Extra Care Rewards Program, for example, offers a variety of savings and rewards, including 2% rewards on general purchases, $1 back for every prescription you fill with CVS and coupons for future purchases. If you often shop at CVS, you can earn back a considerable amount of money to apply toward future purchases.
Is it worth the effort?
Whether a customer loyalty program is worth your participation is debatable. If you sign up for a program at a store you shop at frequently, it is likely to be worth your while. For a store you rarely shop at, it is more likely to be a waste of time and effort. Also, don't sign up for a program where you have to spend more to save more. Sign up for a program that allows you to save money on your everyday, essential purchases.
The bottom line
Customer loyalty programs can save consumers a significant amount of money if they are willing to put in the extra effort and enroll at grocery stores or other retailers they shop at frequently.
Keep in mind that many stores try to lure you into spending more money by promising high levels of consumer rewards. Don't fall for it. Enroll in customer loyalty programs at stores where you are likely to spend money on things you actually need. Loyalty programs will benefit your bottom line if you are getting discounts on items you already buy, as opposed to frivolous items you would not otherwise purchase.
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As my online name states, It's easy once you start. You don't need to give your name or information to get the loyalty cards. You just need to give a name and a phone number so that the store gets credit for signing another person up for the program. You get the better price, the store gets credit for signing someone up and no one will be tracking your purchases. I don't have anything to hide with my purchases but you don't have to give up your personal information unless you use a credit card for example. You need to check all of the local stores sales ads which are all available online, check your Sunday paper for the coupons, the back of your receipt from the grocery stores for coupons and of course the Catalina coupons that the local store will give you when you purchase enough of something in the hope that you will buy more on your next visit. You are allowed to stack your coupons which simply means the manufactor coupons with the Catalina coupon and the sales ads. Every Wal-Mart will match the local competion sales including the ones that use a loyalty card. You will get the loyalty card price at Wal-Mart and just need to have the ad with you and make sure that it's the same item; brand, size etc.
Go to the replies to Runninron69 to see my complete picture on this issue.
Remember It's easy once you start! Pun is intended
Well, I am a cash customer and shop around. I very seldom use a customer card like Giant, Saveway,Pet store, you name it. I demand a discount when paying cash. No Bank charge to the store. I do use my debit card which is cash in my opinion. I do not use coupons because I can get the item I want somewhere much cheaper. A LOT OF STORES ARE GUILTY OF PRICE FIXING. I think they are ripping you off. My advise look at the advertising, make a list of what you want and really need. Put cash in your wallet and make one trip a week. YOU SAVE GASOLINE, PARKING FEES, TIME, FAMILY TIME, BUY ONLY WHAT YOU NEED, COME HOME AND YOU SAVED A BUNDLE. No hassle with coupons and tell the cashier you pay cash and want the same or a better discount. Believe me it is better and it works. If you get a negative response. Leave the items and walk out. In one year of shopping this only happened to me once. It is your money. You worked for it. Get prices down in the store and be active to help. UP TO YOU AND GOOD LUCK
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